Study shows lower risk of lung, colon tumors at 65 and older
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Steven Reinberg
THURSDAY, March 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Fit middle-aged men appear less likely to develop lung and colon cancer in later life than their out-of-shape peers. And if they do develop cancer, they are more likely to beat it, a new study suggests.
Nearly 14,000 men underwent treadmill tests at midlife and had their medical records reviewed at age 65 or older. Researchers found that the fitter guys had roughly half the risk for lung and colon cancer compared with unfit men. Their risk for death from these cancers was about one-third lower.
"Men who are physically fit are expected to have lower levels of [cancer-related] sex hormones, enhanced immunity and lower inflammation," said lead researcher Dr. Susan Lakoski, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Vermont.
"These effects may act together to inhibit cancer as well as risk of dying from cancer or heart disease," she said.
The researchers were surprised that the risk for developing prostate cancer wasn't lower for the fitter guys, however.
It's possible that fit men are more likely to have frequent prostate screenings and, therefore, greater opportunity to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, Lakoski explained.
"Importantly, fit men who developed prostate cancer in the current study had a lower risk of dying of cancer or cardiovascular disease," she said. "This speaks to the importance of being fit in midlife to improve survival, even if a man ultimately develops lung, prostate or colorectal cancer."
Lakoski stressed that this study shows an association between fitness and protection from cancer, not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship.
"Future studies are needed to test these results across all major cancers in men and women, and also address how much an individual must change their fitness to see cancer prevention benefit," she said.
Evidence is growing that lifestyle behaviors influence cancer diagnoses years or decades later, the researchers said in background notes. While the link between fitness and heart protection is well-established, less is known about the connection between heart fitness and cancer, they said.
source : Midlife Fitness May Be a Real Cancer Fighter for Men